Monthly Archives: September 2005

Ideas brewing…

Check back later for more wit, grit, and and criticisms.

You can join the conversation below regarding ego, attitude, competition, and gender- which sounds like just another Friday night out to me.

Juancho-full bodied flavor

The Boiling Point

The problem with making adjustments when you feel like your life is out of balance is that it takes a certain amount of balance to be aware of the problem. Often, it takes a catalyst to prompt you.

Nicking up Barbie’s little dream truck (Oh poor BLDT!) was just the wake up call I needed to take a look at the schedule and figure out how to act more deliberately, less reactively.

It was a glancing blow and nobody was hurt, but it could have been ugly. The other driver was speeding, I was creeping out to look. My fault though, pure and simple. Too much on my mind, out of synch with my surroundings (I never drive at rush hour, why would I?) and I got checked. Scary.

So- take stock of your inner chaos, and if necessary, clean house.

Yesterday morning we put off riding until it was good and hot. A general rule of thumb is if you don’t want to ride, don’t answer the phone. Over here on 10th Ave we all answered the phone, but I don’t think any of of us were really prepared for the molten beatdown we received.

98 degrees in September. Pretty typical really. This summer I have learned the heat-related symptoms all too well, and surprisingly they are very similar to hypothermia.

Shortness of breath, mild hyperventilating.
Disoriented thoughts.
Tendency to go mute.
Bad taste in mouth (yes I brush my damn teeth).
Immediate and constant lactic burn.

We cruised through the Florida State Championship race scene at Tom Brown Park . Those poor bastards. The ego juice was flowing so hard out there. Nobody speaks civil, nobody waves.

That’s a big strike against future racing considerations.

This is the South. We wave down here.

Later y’all


Do Dreams Go to Heaven When They Die?

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

That is the question I fell asleep thinking about last night. As we grow older, inevitably we distance ourselves from certain youthful ambitions and embrace others, born from opportunity, new information, bargaining with the self (Just get me out of this restaurant and I’ll do anything!) So what happens to the dreams of childhood? Of adolescence? Of the promises I made myself at 23 that I would never be like this or knuckle under to that? Often, we laugh those dreams away, mocking our youthful self as naive and pie in the sky gullible.

-Something like this-

If I had known how the world truly works of course I would have chosen to sit in a fucking office all day and immerse myself in petty politics. I mean really, who wants to float the Mississippi river like Huckleberry and Jim? Who wants to play on the PGA Tour? Those guys look stressed to me, much better to file that 147 in the 231A and try to beat those bastards in Accounts Receivable to the cafeteria.

I take no issue with the failure to achieve the dreams of childhood. I take issue with pretending they were not, or less, important than they are.

You can’t explain away a dream.


once an aspiring professional breakdancer & future novelist.

current catcher of children running through the rye.

The lost art of a good conversation

This is not about cycling, and yet cycling is an antidote to the problem.

I’m frustrated and disappointed in the scarcity of good conversation flowing around here these days. The whole world seems to be going ADHD on me. Of course, to be fair, I wouldn’t be realizing this if Riverboat and I hadn’t fallen into some good conversation last night. It was fleeting, and abruptly interrupted, which was a shame. Until it happened I didn’t realize how rare it has been lately.

I value bullshitting, playing the dozens with the bro’s, and the need to just download the crap in your head on a friend, but that ain’t conversation. Conversation is following a particular train of thought to a natural conclusion. Conversation is listening to, and responding to the subject being addressed, not what the subject reminds you of, or triggers for you. Tangents are great, as long they come back to the main trail. Hell, I don’t know what’s going on, but I find it to be sad, sad, sad.

What I hear most is “word pinball” and one-upsmanship. It’s embarassing to listen to and I feel like I need to go wash my hands when I hear it happening.

” I went fishing yesterday and caught a 52 lb. Cobia with my Dad”.

“Oh man, that’s pretty cool, but I caught an 80 lb. Cobia once, but 52 lb. is still pretty big.”

Now do you follow me? I’m not pointing fingers here, it is a common human weakness. This same thread of conversation could easily jump tracks to yet another non sequitur such as…

“80 lbs? Dude I knew a guy once who found 80 lbs. of cocaine while he was fishing”.

This type of statement masquerades as related by it’s reference to fishing and the proclaimed weight of the earlier fish, which itself was an attempt to kill or hijack the initial topic. Now the conversation will inevitably sink to the lowest common denominator, lies or war stories.

“President Bush has probably snorted 80 lbs. of cocaine, but nobody cares about that”.

At this point the conversation has successfully moved away from personal experience into the realm of conjecture and vitriol toward (around here) a safe and common target. Boring. Boring and sad. In the initial example, the statement invites questions about “fishing with Dad” and yet that aspect of the statement is tactlessly avoided. Too personal? Too boring?

I hate to think we are all just killing time in each other’s company. One on one with anybody this doesn’t seem to happen, make it three and forget about it, nothing but blather and inanity.

The art of the good conversation needs to make a comeback. No more 24 hour news. Less booze.

Whatever it takes.

Chew on that shit-Juancho

Red-headed Stranger

Open letter to Powder aka the Hardman-aka-The Red-headed Stranger

Let me get this off my chest right off the bat. I don’t give a marinated damn how they do it out west. This ain’t the west. Do you see any dogs named Bridger around here? Is Big Head Todd and the Monsters playing this weekend? No you have not, and no they aren’t. I know. It’s awful. I’m so not Kind!

This is the South, and if you haven’t noticed, things have been a little edgy down here, so I would keep my gun in my holster if I was you. I know you used to be quick, but that was then and this is now…and tomorrow will be then too…I think.

So you just keep your head down, your eyes forward, and don’t touch that Ellsworth unless you want to learn the Truth.

I’ll deal with the rest of you pilgrims later.

Juancho Van Cleef

The Duel

He is the friend who first put me on a mountain bike. I still have the frame. The fabled 1988 Jamis Dakar. He’s training for a marathon. He absolutely loves to suffer. I outweigh him by 25-30 lbs. He rides titanium.

Knowing all of this I still have come to treat him like a sweet old hunting dog who needs to get out in the woods (even if he can’t hunt no more). We ride on Mondays, and I habitually call it my “recovery day” since Sunday rides are often long.

He didn’t sound like he even wanted to ride. He accused me of the same. I told him I would find my motivation on the trail. We rolled onto the Tom Brown Park singletrack course and he was off. I mean he was gone. My face went cold. I geared up. Click-click. Cla-chunk.

Tight, rooty, steep. My trademark curtain of drool began it’s seepage onto my beard, reaching slowly down to my chest and top tube. It’s viscous, with the tensile strength of a weedwhacker cord. It means I’m going fast or about to die. I was going fast. I kept him in range and waited. When the trail opened up for the long climb across open ground, the sun was blinding. I got in the big ring and stood on it. Up I went, passed him like the bum he is.

He got around me again somewhere close to the end and we finished the course seconds apart.

The Duel was on, and we headed to the Cadillac trail to finish it.

We got on the heritage trail (wider-faster) and just stayed there, pounding for a long time. Climbing so fast I felt the G’s pulling against me in the corners. The drool hung like a shower curtain the width of my bottom lip. I was putting the crush on him. Every time I got a glimpse of him fading in my rear view, I got a burst of adrenaline to make him disappear forever.

He didn’t.

It was like hitting each other with hammers. It was like trading kicks in the nuts. It was Mad Max. It was attempted murder. Pure masochistic bloodsport.

On the way back in, I eased up before the final long climb, preferring to follow him and not ride any harder than necessary. He eased up too. I eyeballed him and got a nervous laugh. He was playing the same game. I took it. I kept it. I had to. I was afraid he would trample me if I gave him the chance.

That rickety old dog can hunt, believe it.

Luke Skyjuancho

The Cutting Edge

I knew it was going to be a fast ride when I hit the turn off of Waverly and banked into the park at Mach speed, narrowly threading the gap between the wooden fence and the speed limit sign. I had a smug laugh with myself about dropping everyone, and then I realized they were right on my wheel, grimly clamped like a row of snapping turtles.

The sun was warm, but the breeze was cool, and like everyone’s favorite rock star boyfriend says, ” It felt like I had no chain”. We rode north into what S’quatch described as fox country, and it is true. Rolling green fields with huge and gothic live Oaks scattered across acre after acre.

We jumped in the lake and had what is sure to be one of the last swims of the summer. We played sprint/ attack all the way back to 10th Ave. Headquarters. Absolutely fucking awesome ride.

Riverboat recently asked the question, “Why don’t you make your blog about something more than biking” and I am struggling for the right way to put this…”It’s Not About the Bike”.

Come on, that was a joke. Of course it’s about the bike. Lance doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I guess when I started this thing, which happened late one night after a bottle of Ravenswood Zin, I was reliving the glory and hilarity of the 12 hours of Razorback. The Big Ring Bakery came to mind (Our black market Boston-cream filled cupcake operation) and I thought, “What a Circus”. Boom. Done. A blog is born.

For me, mountain biking is something that I can think and write about every day, so it works. There are already too many sites out there about Sex, Drugs, and Rock-n-Roll so really, what was left? Besides, I’m open to any tangent off the trail, just ask S’quatch. I’ll take this thing anywhere you want to go. Except Politics. If you take it to politics, then pray you agree with me, that’s all I’m saying. I really lose it sometimes and I’m likely to say something nasty. I don’t want that, it stresses me out. Nobody ever changes their mind anyway, especially me. Bitch.

See? Nobody said anything and I’m already pissed so no politics.

Pre-approved tangents:

Poker Night
D&D (I’ll handle the mockery, you handle the dice)
married vs. single debate (always enlightening-seriously)
Space (physical, not Outer)
Huckleberry Finn
Mexican Professional Wrestling
anything qualifying as “Epic”
Old friends
New friends
Life vs. Death (Where do you stand?)
Words that start with P
Barbed Wire
Gangster, or other, rap
Florida and southern tradition
Food-hell yeah, let’s talk about food

Things you should probably look elsewhere for, (surefire blog-killers)

College football in more than a passing reference (We kicked Citadel’s ass)
goofy, zany, or madcap internet photographs.
biking as a “recreation or sport” rather than a reason to live.
Baseball- nothing sucks like baseball sucks
Politics & Religion
Dumb or Dirty jokes- I prefer my profanity to be relevant and potent.

OK? Simple enough right? We’re the “Big Tent Party”, plenty of room for everyone under the Big Top.

Now that we have that settled- who’s riding today?

“I” says this guy.

El J


Sascha, by God, you should be proud of me. I’m growing up. My kitchen is going to be painted today, and I only had to wait 2 1/2 years for the landlord “Big Dick” to get around to it. I am hoping we go with something like the picture above because it is important to me to project an aura of sophistication and domestic tranquility. Apparently that is how to snare the lovely ladies. Big Dick wants to go more with a color he likes to call “flat white”. We’ll see what happens.

I’m having a hard time getting any kind of regular ride gang together lately. Everybody is gone somewhere. Europe. Idaho. Academia. The Dark world of Ungor. Court. The Drunktank. Apathytown. Yep, that about covers it. I feel like a whore at the docks, ready to go with anybody. Shit, I’m so hard up I would ride with that Tally flasher guy who used to come around. Actually, no I wouldn’t.

Today is S’quatch’s daughter’s birthday, but I bet he woke up more excited about my kitchen being painted. He would like to see me get it together around here, he really would. I appreciate that, but talk is cheap. If I had a nickel for every time he said he was going to come over here and get this kitchen project going I would have at least 15 cents.

Mel (not his real name) seems to be leaning toward the one year plan, which is good news. Thanks again for all of your insightful thoughts and comments. I’ve never been a more proud king of an imaginary kingdom. We’ll see what happens next. I say get the Moots YBB shipped directly here to the lair. I’ll get it all set up, just the way I, I mean you, like it dude.

Citadel is coming to town to get crushed by FSU this weekend, which is only interesting because we have some Pat Conroy fans in the house. If you’ve never heard of him before, he is a South Carolina writer who romanticizes losing in his book, My Losing Season. Conroy is a Citadel man. S’quatch and Hi-Tops fucking love the shit out of some Pat Conroy. They are constantly saying things like, “When I lose I want to lose like Pat Conroy lost” or “Man I really Conroyed that jump back there”. I think it is important and healthy to have heroes.

For the cyclists, here is a cool website. Check out the chainwheel kaleidoscope, it’s awesome.

For the non-cyclists out there, I wouldn’t leave you out! you can check out this site.

I’m going to knock out a solid 2 hour day’s work, take a nap, avoid the paint project, take an urban cruise through campus, meet the whole S’quatch clan at the pub early enough to play pool in a non-disgusting environment, then I will stay around to help make it disgusting.

It’s important to have a plan. It’s all a part of growing up.

Juancho, with links Yo!

Clydesdale Hall of Fame

Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul.

I came across a version of Aretha singing “Tracks of My Tears”. I can’t stop playing it.

That is why Aretha Franklin, despite her 80’s hits, is our newest inductee into the Clydesdale Hall of Fame.

Congratulations Ms. Franklin!